March 6, 2009 / 4:17 PM / 10 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St drops on Apple gloom, bleak jobs data

* Apple fuels tech sell-off after bearish broker view

* Bleak news on the labor market sparks caution

* Wells Fargo rises after cutting dividend

* Dow off 0.6 pct, S&P 500 off 1 pct, Nasdaq off 1.7 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US] (Updates to late morning)

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Friday, extending a slide to 12-year lows, on a sell-off in shares of big-cap technology companies after a brokerage cut its price target and profit views for bellwether Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

Shares of iPod and iPhone maker Apple fell 6.6 percent to $82.94 on Nasdaq, pulling the index below its Nov. 21 intraday low to the lowest since March 2003 and fueling selling in other tech bellwethers including International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N), which was off 2.5 percent at $85.28.

JPMorgan cut its price target and profit views on Apple, saying the next few quarters could be “bumpy.”

“Tech has been outperforming across the board for the last couple weeks. We’ve really noticed a divergence in tech versus the general market,” said Dave Lutz, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore. “So I think you probably have some more speculative money that seems to be pulling out now.”

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI dropped 41.42 points, or 0.63 percent, to 6,553.02. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX lost 6.56 points, or 0.96 percent, to 675.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC shed 22.37 points, or 1.72 percent, to 1,277.22.

In economic news, a government report showed the U.S. unemployment rate rose to a 25-year high last month as companies buckled under the strain of a recession that shows no signs of abating. For story see [ID:nN06382576].

Shares of chip-maker Qualcomm (QCOM.O) slid 4.2 percent to $32.18, making it the second-worst Nasdaq drag behind Apple.

Wells Fargo (WFC.N), however, rose more than 6 percent to $8.62 after the bank cut its dividend, spurring some optimism that banks are taking steps to strengthen balance sheets. (Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr and Ellis Mnyandu)

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